Pavlik (35-1, 31 KOs) has a staph infection in his left finger that has plagued him for months, having led to the second postponement of his WBO and WBC middleweight title defenses against Williams (37-1, 27 KOs), a two-time welterweight and one-time junior middleweight champion.
"This morning, we were advised that Kelly Pavlik's recovery of his left hand has not progressed as projected by Dr. Peter J. Evans, Director of the Cleveland Clinic Upper Extremity Center," said Todd duBoef, president of Top Rank, Pavlik's promoter. "As a result of this Kelly is unable to close his left hand, which prohibits him from being prepared for a December 5 middleweight championship defense against Paul Williams."
"We at Top Rank are disappointed by this unexpected development in his recovery. Once Pavlik is cleared medically by Dr. Evans, we will pursue all avenues with regards to a future bout," said duBoef. "We appreciate the understanding of Paul Williams, Goossen Tutor Promotions, HBO and Caesars Atlantic City with regards to this unforeseen occurrence."
Williams' promoter, Dan Goossen, said that he has been advised by HBO Sports president Ross Greenburg that the cable network will allow him to fight on that date, and that the undercard bouts will also be announced later.
"There are a few names out there right now, and Martinez is one of the names. We're also looking at the world champion with the WBO, Sergiy Dzinziruk," Goossen said of Martinez (44-1-2, 24 KOs) and Dzinziruk (36-0, 22 KOs), both southpaws.
"We're still having the conversations with Atlantic City," Goossen said. "And as soon as we get everything in place, we'll go and talk to the sites."
Neither Pavlik, nor his trainer, Jack Loew, could be reached for comment on Wednesday night.
Pavlik, who underwent surgery twice on his hand over the summer, told FanHouse last month that the injury affected him during his loss to Bernard Hopkins in October 2008, when Pavlik rose to 168 pounds to challenge the former multi-champion and future Hall of Famer.
"My left hand was absolutely non-existent in training the last two and a half weeks" of training for Hopkins, said Pavlik, who rebounded to stop Marco Antonio Rubio in February before a hometown crowd in Youngstown, Ohio.
Williams has not fought since April, when he rose to middleweight to dominate former world champion, Winky Wright.
Williams, owner of the WBO interim junior middleweight crown, has contended that he is running out of opponents to fight because of his height and general talents.
"I wasn't shocked. Not at all. We weren't surprised. This is really the fourth time now, so this fight will never take place. We're going to move on. There's no injury, he [Pavlik] just needs a heart transplant," said Peterson, speaking exclusively to FanHouse concerning the fact that Williams likely will fight Martinez.
"We didn't get caught off guard," said Peterson. "We knew that this was going to happen, and we have been sparring with right-handers and left-handers to prepare for this."